Rwanda civil society organizations have received financial support worth US$740,000 aimed at contributing to strengthening responsive and accountable governance in the country.
The grants were provided on November 7 through collaboration of the One United Nations and Government of Rwanda.
Civil societies played a major role in organizing and masterminding the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi which claimed a million lives in just a hundred days of slaughter.
The United Nations was blamed for failure to stop the massacre.
Auke Lootsma, the UN’s Development Programme country Director and acting President of One UN Rwanda, said, “It is high time we seek the need to work with civil society as a prerequisite to build a democratic society.”
He added, “It is our firm belief that civil society can play an important role to deepen governance and socio-economic development at all levels in Rwanda. We are excited to see the first results today and are committed to continue this journey in the coming years.”
The UN/Rwanda government grants awarding ceremony was launched in April this year. At the first phase, highly competitive 18 proposals were selected for funding out of 182 applicants for the programme.
Winners for the first grants were from the field of; Human rights, gender; Civic education, Social protection, Citizen Engagement, Women /youth/self-employment/Culture promotion and Media.
The winners were categorized into two; which saw 4 umbrella Civil Society Organisations walking away with a grant of US$80 000 each, while 14 others received US$30 000.
Rwanda says it’s committed to strengthening Civil Societies to work for the public interests.
Prof Anastase Shyaka the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Governance Board said, “We walk the talk! Giving out grants today translates into reality of Rwanda’ s commitment to support the CSOs in strengthening their capacity to deliver and foster civic participation in order to improve the livelihoods of the people by engaging in productive economic activities.”
This is UN’s first step of a broader range of activities to support national civil society organizations in Rwanda.
Immaculee Ingabire the representative of Transparency International Rwanda which was awarded the grant said, “We are glad that the UN and Rwanda government are turning eyes on Civil Society organisations. We are the key actors in societies.”
UN says the grants programme will last longer to help Rwanda’s Civil Society Organisations accomplish their goals and contribute to the Country’s socioeconomic development.
By Dan Ngabonziza